TALES FROM THE FIELDS: Highest performance test ever recorded in Ulster

Mr Ashley Armstrong, Belmount, Omagh, with his boar, Garravagh Royal Eros 10th, which was released from the Performance Testing Station at Antrim, with an index of 225 - the highest index ever recorded at the testing station in April 1978.
Mr Ashley Armstrong, Belmount, Omagh, with his boar, Garravagh Royal Eros 10th, which was released from the Performance Testing Station at Antrim, with an index of 225 - the highest index ever recorded at the testing station in April 1978.

A performance tested Landrace, whose index was 225 - the highest ever recorded at the Pig Testing Station at Antrim - was released this week in 1978 it was reported.

Garravagh Royal Eros 10th was owned by Mr Ashley Armstrong of Belmount, Omagh.

The previous best index of 212 was recorded in 1975 when a Large White boar, Ballynahinch King David, was released.

Mr Armstrong’s outstanding boar had a food conversion of 2.38, while his contemporaries was 2.43. In addition, he also excelled in the tests for eye muscle and lean meat.

The eye muscle average was 42.5 square centimetres, while the contemporaries average was 38.8, and the lean meat percentage was 65.9, with a contemporary figure of 60.5.

Mr Armstrong had purchased the boar from one of the most progressive and forward looking herds in the Republic of Ireland - Long Brothers of Cork.

Their Garravagh herd at that time underwent the most thorough and intensive testing routines in the United Kingdom.

A lot of the testing was based on that used in the Rattlerow herd, whose owner, Mr Phillip Lawson, had recently presented an excellent paper to a conference of pig farmers organised by the Pig Production Development Committee.

Long Brothers used both station testing and on-farm testing, and made extensive use of all the results obtained.

Mr Armstrong selected the boar on test background with a view to improving the characteristics of daily liveweight gain and food conversion, because of the high cost of meal.

His acumen and skill in breeding, and his eye for the superior animal were well known and with Garravagh Royal Eros 10th his selection had been “certainly justified”.

A number of the boar’s performance tested sons had gone to some of the leading herds in Northern Ireland it was noted.